Gianna Albaum (Ph.D, New York University) works on modern Italian culture from a comparative perspective. Her research explores the role of intoxication and addiction in modern literature and film. Tracing drugs and their many entanglements across philosophy, science, medicine, and literature, her work brings to light the fraught relationship between colonial plant-drugs and European modernity. She is currently serving as a postdoctoral fellow at New York University.
She is currently working on a book manuscript titled Bad Medicine: Literature and Drugs in Modern Italy. This project examines the role of medicine and drugs in modern Italian literature, including works by Ippolito Nievo, Giovanni Verga, Annie Vivanti, Pitigrilli (Dino Segre), Dino Buzzati, and Primo Levi.
Her article “Mantegazza’s Coca Dreams,” published in Italian Quarterly, examines race and biopolitics in Paolo Mantegazza’s scientific treatise on the coca leaf; her most recent article, “In Defense of Moral Contagion: Annie Vivanti’s Naja Tripudians and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic,” is forthcoming in California Italian Studies.
Her research interests include modern literature and film, media theory, science and technology studies, biopolitics, and critical race theory.
In fall 2021, she taught the course “Italian Narcofictions,” and in spring 2022, she is teaching “The Passions of Elena Ferrante” and “Black Italia.” She is currently collaborating with the students of her Black Italia course to create a digital resource hub and guide to Black Italia (view their work-in-progress here).